Italian White Wine 101

A Brief History of Italian White Wines in America

A lot of the credit for American interest in these great white wines from Italy must go to Tony Terlato, who in 1979 realized a potential market for crisp, dry whites from the Alto Adige region, after he had tasted a wide range of them in a hotel restaurant in Venice. Since that time, not only America, but the World, has come to understand the deliciousness and versatility of these wines, enjoyed by themselves as aperitif, but especially with lighter foods like shellfish and fresh fish entrée’s. It’s thanks to Tony that we enjoy Mazzoni’s Pinot Grigio and Vermentino Chardonnay in the United States.

In almost every region of Italy you can find crisp, elegant, well-balanced white wines. From the Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Arneis, Sauvignon Blanc, Garganega (the grape of Soave) and Glera (Prosecco) of the North, to Verddichio di Mettalica, Greco di Tufo, Grechetto, and Vermentino (and now excellent Pinot Grigio – Maremma) of the Central, to the Insolia, and forward-thinking producers of non-indigenous varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc in Sicily and Puglia, there are hundreds of options. It must be stated that almost all of these wines are fantastic values.

The Greatest White Wines in Italy

What are the greatest white wines in Italy? Like all wine-related topics, highly debatable. Interestingly, the press for years has awarded the top prizes mostly to modern wines, tending to come not from native varieties, but from grape species introduced into the country in only the past 30 years, notably chardonnay. Probably the most famous and iconic winemaker in Italy Angelo Gaja, along with his family, planted Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in a region known only for nebbiolo. They bottle three amazing whites, Gaja & Rey Chardonnay, Rossj-Bass and Alteni di Brassica. Two other very prominent Chardonnays are Jerman “Dreams”, and Antinori’s fine “Cervaro della Sala” (the only Italian wine to have been awarded a Tre Bicchieri every year it’s been made).

The real story of these wines is the plentitude of purely delicious, affordable, food-friendly white wine options. Table after table at the Tre Bicchieri tasting, when asked the price here in the U.S., three glass winners were “Twenty dollars”, or, “Fifteen Dollars”, or sometimes even less. This connection between quality, authenticity, distinction and value is what makes this such an exciting category today.

The next time you are wine shopping, take a detour from the California Chardonnay aisle and try a white blend from Tuscany, like the Mazzoni Vermentino-Chardonnay – delicious!

Sample some great examples of wine from this region below!

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  • Terlato Vineyards Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2016

    Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy

    Light gold in color, the Pinot Grigio is complex and layered with ripe peach, apricot, and pear with a mouth-filling texture and crisp, mineral finish.

  • Giuliana Prosecco NV

    Veneto, Italy

    Inspired by Giuliana Rancic. Straw yellow in color with aromas of golden delicious apple, pear, and acacia blossom. This wine is fresh, fruity, and complex on the palate, followed by a light velvety body.

    • Nino Franco Rustico Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG

      Valdobbiadene, Italy

      The Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco is a creamy, refreshing and balanced. Bright straw-colored it has a very fine, and crisp flavor with hints of fruit and flowery aromas. It is produced in an area of hillside vineyards situated in the Valdobbiadene region of Italy. Recommended by Ladies' Home Journal as a top hostess gift suggestion!

    • Riondo Prosecco Spago Nero NV

      Veneto, Italy

      Riondo Spago Nero is one of the most popular and most authentic Proseccos. It features Riondo’s signature string closure, and is vino frizzante with fresh scents of Golden Delicious apples, pears and acacia blossoms.

      • Terlato Vineyards Friulano, Friuli 2013

        Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy

        This Friulano comes from very old vines, located on Estate vineyards with cool nights and warm days, which is ideal for producing wines with excellent acidity and elegance. The floral aromas of the Friulano have distinct pear and almond notes and give way to creamy texture and a full body.

      • Anselmi San Vincenzo 2016

        Veneto, Italy

        San Vincenzo is grown in the Monteforte area within the Veneto region of northern Italy. Light straw in color, crisp and pure with scents of minerals, lemon/lime, apricot and yellow apples. This medium-bodied white is dry and fresh with notes of citrus fruit. 

        • Giuliana Prosecco and Chocolate Biscotti Set

          Our Giuliana Prosecco and Chocolate Biscotti gift set contains two bottles of Giuliana Prosecco and a package of Terlato Kitchen Dark Chocolate & Almond Soft Biscotti.

          • Cecchi La Mora Vermentino 2016

            Maremma, Italy

            The lightness of Vermentino in harmony with the warmth of the Tuscan coast. La Mora Vermentino combines the graceful taste of the vines to a wide-ranging and material character originating from the soil and climate characteristics of the coast.

            • Anselmi Capitel Foscarino 2013

              Veneto, Italy

              Capitel Foscarino is grown on twenty-four acres of cru vineyards at the top of the Foscarino Hill, the best vine growing hill in the area. Medium to full-bodied with flavors of fresh apples, peach and lime underscored by mineral notes.

              • Black Friday Blowout Gift Set

                Save 50% on this selection of quality wines from Uncorked.com. These 12 bottles are sure to impress! At $119.99 plus $9.95 shipping, you don't want to miss out on this smart buy.

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